March 7th, 2008
03:49 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton pounces on Obama adviser’s Iraq comments

Clinton's campaign is hammering Obama over Samantha Power's Iraq comments.

Clinton's campaign is hammering Obama over Samantha Power's Iraq comments.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign Friday seized on remarks from Barack Obama’s former adviser Samantha Power, who told a BBC program this week that Obama "will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or U.S. senator" to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

Power resigned from the campaign on Friday after she told a Scottish newspaper that Clinton was behaving like a "monster," a comment she quickly tried to retract, according to the newspaper. The Obama campaign hastily noted that Power, a celebrated academic who joined Obama's senate office in 2005 to work on Darfur issues, was an informal adviser and not a paid staffer.

"You can't make a commitment in, whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008, about what circumstances are going be like in January 2009," Power said on Thursday's edition of the BBC show "Hardtalk," describing Obama's plan to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq in 16 months.

Power agreed with the BBC interviewer's assertion that Obama's plan was a "best case scenario." She argued that upon taking office, Obama "will rely upon an operational plan he pulls together in consultation with people that are on the ground to whom he doesn't have daily access now as a result of not being the president."

The author emphasized in the interview that Obama "will try to get us forces out as quickly and as responsibly as possible and that’s the best case estimate of what it will take."

The Clinton campaign circulated excerpts of the comments to reporters on Friday minutes after Power resigned over the "monster" comment, and Clinton herself took to the mic at a press conference in Mississippi to accuse Obama of deceiving voters.

"While Sen. Obama campaigns on his plan to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should be become president," Clinton said. "This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another."

She also referenced the recent controversy surrounding Obama's economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, who reportedly gave assurances to members of the Canadian consulate that Obama’s NAFTA criticisms were little more than campaign rhetoric. Both the Obama campaign and the Canadian government have denied the substance of that report.

Clinton said Friday that Power's Iraq comments raise "disturbing questions about what the real planning and policy positions with inside the Obama campaign happen to be."

"He has attacked me continuously for having no hard exit date," she continued. "And now we have learned that he doesn't have one. In fact, he doesn't have a plan at all according to his top foreign policy adviser."

Despite her charges against Obama, Clinton's own Iraq plan also calls for a high-level meeting with military and intelligence advisers upon entering office to evaluate the situation on the ground and strategize about how best to withdraw troops from the country.

She was asked at today's press conference if her comments about Power and Obama contradict her own plan about how to withdraw troops.

"No, I don't think so," Clinton said. "I am committed to beginning a withdrawal within 60 days. I have said that consistently."

- CNN's Peter Hamby and Mike Roselli

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iraq
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. Cindy

    First NAFTA, now Iraq, and the universal health insurance has dissappeared from his agenda. Is he a man of his words ,or just faking them to win the delegates?

    March 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Kim, Pasadena, CA

    Double standard. Apparently, it is perfectly o.k. for Senator Clinton to use meaningless phrases like a call for a "time out on trade" or set up a supposedly "mandated" health care plan without specifying how it will be mandated. Apparently, it is perfectly o.k. for Senator Clinton to insult Senator Obama's supporters, like me and the millions of others like me, by calling us "delusional." Some of her supporters and some of the media even call us "cult like." This is just fine even though we have little mechanism to defend ourselves. But it is fine apparently. Once more, I ask CNN to stand up for us and stop supporting the bashing of American citizens by the Clinton campaign.
    Once more, I ask CNN to ask Senator Clinton to give some specifics - what does a "time out from trade" mean? What are her national security credentials, because I have looked at her resume and her website and I cannot find any. Start asking substantive questions and stop diverting us all into the name-calling sphere. We are not in kindergarten. Enough of this absurdity - please take about real issues and make BOTH of the candidates (not just Senator Obama) give REAL specifics.

    March 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. GF


    Let me quote Hillary corectly, "We will WIN in Iraq and Afghanastan...."

    March 7, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Mark

    I would encourage everyone to scroll down a bit in this political ticker to view the article entitled "Clinton campaign denies Canadian report on NAFTA comments". For the life of me, I can't figure out why CNN is not giving this article more press. Instead, they seem intent on burying the story. Well it is big news.

    The truth here is that the Clinton campaign will "pounce" on any statement if they can take it out of context, "spin" it, or otherwise manipulate it to their own ends. There seems to be no end to the extent to which the Clinton campaign will stretch or defy the truth in order to get votes. PLEASE CNN, just report the facts as they come out. No need to take sides. The truth speaks quite well for itself.

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. SD

    Please leave Hillary alone.Its her Right her BIRTH RIGHT to be president, like S. Powers said she will say or do anything to win. replace MONSTER with Frankenstein Frankenstein….. Frankenstein a person who creates a monster or a destructive agency that cannot be controlled or that brings about the creator's ruin

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. bad idea

    What a flip flop.....i wonder he wants to be a President just to be the first Black person in History to be a President?Or he's really for real?its really hard for me to understand how he's going to show me that he can be a leader if he's advisers and staffs blew their mouth away.His campaign is still runninhg,his advisers and staffs are ruinning his chance don't blame Hillary because she using it against him.

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Brad, Obamaha NE

    if she gets the nomination i will vote for Mccain

    i hate this woman

    not all women

    just this one

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Jon

    UNBELIEVEABLE! First, Hillary demands that Power step-down because her comments were untrue and unfair, and then she insists that everyone should believe Power's comments regarding Iraq as fact! Additionally, I'm SICK of this "35 years of experience" nonsense. She was somebody's wife for over 10 years – nothing more! Both my father and I are lawyers – does that mean I can tack his 40+ years of experience onto my resume?

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Texas4Obama

    I think the media needs to start highlighting the things that are wrong with the Clinton campaign and the Clintons.

    Peter Paul vs. Clintons lawsuit
    Clinton's involvement with Canada NAFTA dirty scandal
    Clintons last year's TAX RETURN
    Clintons camp reference to Senator Obama being like KEN STARR
    ETC, Etc, Etc.....

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. paul

    Obama 08!!!!!
    This lady is really a negative fighter. Someone should please advise her to stay positive on her campaign. She should be tired of saying nasty words and things to fellow democrat, face your harsh word on republicant. Get real or get off the sit.
    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Jan

    I believe Senator Obama is still getting a free ride by the press . After the way they jumped on "Bill" for the fairy-tale comment, I would expect them to at least slap Obama on the wrist! The person who described Hilary as a "monster" was working for Obama whether she was being paid or not. Another lapse in judgement–how many major gaffes do you get before being elected to the US presidency? ?

    March 7, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Jon

    GOOD JOB HILLARY! Its nice to see her back on her feet and pushing forward strong with the momentum...Obama keeps filling up stuff in the Kitchen Sink to be thrown at him....not a good strategy for him!?

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Stephanie-in-Vegas

    Samantha Brown basically told the truth *shrug*

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Danielle

    Liar,liar,liar again. How is it possible in 60 days. She have no plans to get out has she have to get in. This is an other blind ticket ... Who is stupid enough to believe her ??????????? She is looking the white house to continue the clinton's legacy..

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Pon Mao

    So Clinton will withdraw troops from Iraq within 60 days no matter what the real situation is over there? Did she mention how many will she withdraw? Even if just withdraw one person, she can claim that she started the withdraw, but we all know that's not a real withdraw.
    Shame on you, Hillary Clinton!

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. California Voter

    Interesting that Power, a well-educated person, would resort to some of the same language many Obama supporters use on these blogs when referring to Senator Clinton. That kind of language from either side is unnecessary, particularly when Obama's campaign and supporters are ultra sensitive to any comments that might have tinge of racism. No question in any body's mind as to what a monster is!

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. LeRoy

    ok all you Obamo supports u best go ahaid and get mad and raise hell now because you man will lose the nomination....I met this guy today thats a predictor and he has predicted 997 correct out of 1000 predictions and he says Hillary wins....Ok go jump up and down, put your fist thru the wall whatever coz you've been told in advance!

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Jonathan Swift

    Desparate, desparate. Attack, Atack. Hillary Clinton is change you can count on. She will change her positions and beliefs to suit the political winds. In Ohio, is against NAFTA and outsourcing, while as recently as a year ago she praised them, not to mention that a good deal of her and Bill's money (can't be sure without those pesky tax returns) have come from his corporate ties. She looks for the jugular and shows no shame that she never really has a plan of attack for a problem, just the attack. Ms. Powers was not the first woman to lose her position for speaking the truth, it would be a shame for Hillary Clinton to be elected by not speaking the truth.

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. rochelle holmes

    Anyone with any sense can see that Hillary is a MONSTER, just ask Bill. He promised her the white house, now he is working his butt off trying to deliver that promise. I bet she is more like an attack dog behind close doors.
    I pity anyone that crosses her. Monster is to good a word to describe Hillary, how about the word that rhymes with witch.

    March 7, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. dustin

    This race is OVER. Why does Clinton pretend it is not?

    She will lose on pledged delegates. She will lose the popular vote. The superdelegates are not crazy – they will not override the will of the voters. Does anybody think someone who can't win the popular vote of their own party has any shot at winning the general?

    What is she going to say when the supers don't go for her crazy little plan to steal the nomination? Time for the press to learn math and stop perpetuating the delusion.

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Stephanie-in-Vegas

    Oops that should have read Samantha Power instead of Brown

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. bantou

    Candidates obviously have serious contempt for the electorate's ability to discern between substance and pure political effluvia. Why should we be concerned about what a supporter, or even someone loosely connected to Obama's campaign is uttering out there ? Should we attribute every statement made by someone affiliated to Obama's campaign, to Obama ? These people are not running for President. Obama is, and therefore it's what he says that's of consequence and substance. First it was what his preacher said. Then it became what Farrakan said, and later what some economic advisor said to some Canadiens while on a university tour. Now, it's another advisor saying something that Clinton wants us to take Obama to the gallows for.

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Stu from Canada

    Clinton is a Monster.

    There is no way that if circumstance change by the date they both say they are going to remove the troops that either of them won't re-eveluate whats best for the country. Both of them have laid out best case scenarios, but Clinton is calling Obama a deceiver when she is doing the exact same thing.

    I think Obama will do whats best for the country, and Clinton will do or say whats best for her.

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. FELISA

    it's no wonder the republicans hated this woman for sooo long

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Michele Hunter

    Barack Obama, is Mr."Silver Tongue".. Without, skills and knowledge to lead this Country...
    Hillary Clinton has the knowledge and most of all the "strength" to lead this country!
    Our many problems can not be solved overnight, however with her as Commander & Chief, we have a chance........

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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